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FinAccess pulls in $500k for East Africa expansion

Havaic has backed a company whose software helps digitalise digitises community banks and co-ops

Cape Town-based venture capital firm Havaic has invested US$500,000 investment in FinAccess, an East African software solutions provider that digitalises community banks and farming co-operatives in the region. It aims to drive financial inclusion and unlock financial services for many unbanked East Africans through its technology platform and widespread distribution.

Allocated from the VC firm’s US$20-million Havaic Universum Core African Fund, which closed in May, the investment is part of a pre-series A funding round to expand the company’s two core products, banking software solution Fincore and agricultural software solution Grobox.

Founded by CEO Barclay Paul Okari in 2017, FinAccess offers a proprietary SaaS solution to savings and credit cooperative organisations (SACCOs) and co-ops. Barclay is a successful entrepreneur with a track record of founding and selling startups. He has also been named on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list recognising young achievers at the forefront of innovation.

With the support of Havaic in partnership with other investors, FinAccess plans to cement its market leadership in Kenya and expand into other markets. Live pilots are underway in Uganda, with Zambia, Rwanda, and Tanzania launching in the coming months.

“FinAccess is solving critical problems for Africa’s underserved communities,” says Rob Heath, partner at Havaic and Director at FinAccess. “The team’s growth and ability to perform over the last few years has been incredible to watch, and there is so much scope to continue growing across Kenya and beyond. FinAccess is 100% aligned with our investment thesis to make an impact by supporting early-stage, high-potential companies that solve real-world challenges through technology. We look forward to supporting their unfolding growth journey.”

Currently, the agriculture sector employs 65% of Africa’s population, yet only 1% of bank lending goes to agriculture, and the day-to-day operations of well-established SACCOs remain outdated and inefficient. FinCore digitalises and automates the entire financial back office and product functions. The software solution significantly improves efficiency, transparency, reliability, and distribution by enabling SACCO members to access financial services and perform digital transactions via a mobile app or USSD interface.

Co-ops contribute to over 70% of all agricultural output in East Africa and face the same inefficiencies from outdated, manual systems. Grobox is an operations management software solution that tracks and records inventory, production, sales, payments, and finance data. Grobox opens the door to partnerships with financial institutions and subsequent access to essential services like embedded working capital for small-scale farmers.

“Financial inclusion for underserved Africans is at the heart of our business,” says Barclay. “Digitisation ultimately releases credit and other vital financial services so farmers can increase productivity and efficiency.”

The announcement follows Havaic’s recent investments in ShopEx and Talk360, joining the VC’s portfolio of 18 early-stage, high-potential African technology companies.

Havaic’s portfolio companies now serve a combined 5-million customers in over 180 countries. In 2021, the portfolio raised US$110-million in fresh capital and increased revenue by 160%.

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